Today’s blog, written by a former staff at Remnant Westside Church in Manhattan, was first posted on September 9, 2013.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Keeping the Faith Despite the Persecution”
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
In Philippi, there was a great sense of patriotism and pride in their city, being part of the great Roman Empire. In light of that, the apostle Paul appeals to a greater membership, that is, partnership in the gospel and furthering the cause of God’s Kingdom.
Now, apparently, the pagans in the city were persecuting the believers since Paul stated that they were going through the same suffering he had gone through even to the present moment (2 Tim 3:12). So, such encouragement coming from an individual, who kept on serving the Lord in spite of the persecution, surely would have inspired the Philippians to honor God in word and by example.
Keep verse 27 in mind, particularly the phrase, “Manner of life”. It derives from the Greek word politeuo, which refers to the fulfillment of responsibilities as a member of a polis, a basic governmental unit of Greek society. It’s comparable to how we think of a citizen (politeuo) of a state or county (polis). Thus, Paul is saying that the believers ought to fulfill the responsibilities of their faith despite the persecution.
In view of that, allow me to raise some questions. First, how does vv.27-28 deepen your understanding of fellowship? In what ways can you help fellow believers to stand firm in their faith? Second, are you facing opposition as you share your faith? Ask that the Lord would grant you faith and strength to be bold and faithful. Third, how aware are you of the persecution Christians are experiencing internationally? Take some steps to learn more about our brothers and sisters who are suffering for the gospel. Remember, worship is more than just singing songs; it’s an outflow of one’s life. So, how can you align your life so that it is clear that what you do, you do “for the sake of Christ”? (v.29)
Prayer: Tonight, agree and decree that He will be God Almighty in your life!!
“Lord, as I rest in your great love, Almighty God, I am transformed to break strongholds of guilt, shame, and inferiority. In Your strength, I defeat the oppressor who offers fear, condemnation, and self-hatred. As I submit to You, I can live for your glory alone. I will rise up to see Your victorious view. When the enemy surrounds me with his frightening army, I will look to You, Almighty God, and see through Your lens. I will see Your magnificent angels, your horses, and chariots of fire with me, to protect, provide, and deliver me from evil. If You are for me, Almighty God, who can be against me? No one, nothing, for You are always triumphant. Amen.”
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 16